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Tyson Foods Plans Health Clinic In Storm Lake

In this Friday, May 1, 2020, photo, a sign stands in front of the Tyson Foods plant in Waterloo, Iowa. The coronavirus is devastating the nation’s meatpacking communities — places like Waterloo and Sioux City in Iowa, Grand Island, Neb., and Worthington, Minn. Within weeks, the outbreaks around slaughterhouses have turned into full-scale disasters.
Charlie Neibergall
AP file
Tyson operates nine locations in Iowa, including this plant in Waterloo. The company's first health clinic will open at its Storm Lake facility.

Tyson Foods plans on opening “pilot” health clinics at some of its plants around the country. The first one will be in Storm Lake.

Tyson plans to open seven pilot health clinics around the country. The meat company is partnering with Marathon Health to launch the clinics which will provide primary and preventative care. Five of the locations are yet to be announced, but Storm Lake will be home to the first one. Another will be in Holcomb, Kansas.

Tyson spokesperson Derek Burleson said the company was planning on opening these clinics before the COVID-19 pandemic. He said multiple factors went into choosing Storm Lake as the first site, such as the size of the plant and community involvement.

“Another factor is the volume of team members who frankly, you know, aren't using their health plan benefits and might not be receiving the care that they need," Burleson said.

More than 3,300 people work at the two Tyson plants in Storm Lake. The company said the clinics will be designed to serve a diverse workforce and will provide resources in multiple languages.

Burleson said another reason Tyson chose Storm Lake as its first site was because the health care community there has given Tyson positive feedback about the new clinic.

“We can't do this in a vacuum. You know, we need buy in from the local healthcare community, and we need to bring them along as part of this process," Burleson said.

The clinic will be provided for Tyson employees and their families at no extra cost.

"We're really excited to start implementing these clinics," Burleson said. "And to really ensure that the appropriate care is delivered for our team members."

According to a study by the Food and Environment Reporting Network released in April, the pork Tyson facility in Storm Lake has had at least 591 positive cases of COVID-19 among its employees and one death.

Kassidy was a reporter based in Des Moines